The labor force is changing, introducing several new challenges to manufacturing while worldwide competition is increasing. Companies everywhere are pivoting their approaches to manufacturing strategies to produce more goods with less available capital and resources. Maximizing return on investment is more important now than ever as manufacturers seek to reduce needless expenditures and get the most out of their employees and infrastructure.
Streamlining manufacturing processes is crucial in this shifting economy. Many manufacturers have sought solutions in Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), a robust automated software system that valuable operational data in real-time. Plants, in turn, have been able to designate floor workers and company leaders to value-add areas such as process improvement and business development.
For many manufacturing processes, MES software is vital. Yet it is often difficult to figure out. Fortunately, EZSoft can provide an enhanced general training program on PLC programming, programing design, PLC troubleshooting in addition to system-specific software training for programs like MES.
MES helps manufacturers streamline tasks such as order entry and production monitoring, tracking raw products to their completion stage, and quickly apprehending data concerning machine asset usage and product yield and quality. Quick Reference sheets have proven highly beneficial as well. They detail critical system functions and are distributable to employees in digital or physical laminated copies at the operator interface terminal.
In this guide, we look at a few key ways Manufacturing Execution Systems work to improve outcomes at your facility.
The background on Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)
What is MES? MES, of course, is the acronym for Manufacturing Execution System, an automated software application that allows manufacturers to control, track, and monitor their processes from start to finish. MES provides heightened visibility into and control over manufacturing procedures that can drastically improve the performance and efficiency of your operation.
MES has been in use at manufacturing plants, spanning over two decades now. At the outset, anticipations were high. Many business owners believed MES could revolutionize their plants by supplying increased traceability and control. MESA (the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association) first defined MES pursuant to a list of 11 essential functions.
This definition later expanded after it merged with the Purdue Reference Model in 2000 by the ANSI/ISA-95 standard. The Purdue Reference Model decidedly took on too many functions and, despite helping on many fronts failed to meet the expectations of many. In turn, companies sought out simpler approaches to getting the most out of MES without committing to the hefty investments required for full MES implementation.
What is the difference between production and process monitoring?
Process and production monitoring are distinct from each other, yet they remain connected at the same time. Both provide insight into the warehouse facility and its operations with the main objective of maximizing process efficiency. Each tool can be used separately or, alternately, you could combine them for maximum visibility, using the same hardware and software, respectively.
These platforms are designed for specific monitoring purposes in mind. Production monitoring capabilities include real-time production summary, cycle-time data, downtime information, customizable chat, and reporting features, email and text alerts, OEE tracking, and more. Production monitoring essentially automates real-time and historical data that used to be completed manually on spreadsheets or with pen and paper, by hand.
Process monitoring is most commonly deployed for real-time Statistical Process Control. This process provides insights into measurement and process data from plant machinery, on the whole, through systemwide DMC integration. Process monitoring makes it possible to isolate and capture data during the course of any shift from all individuals and machines to calculate performance. Essentially a quality control solution, process monitoring looks at cycle-time, charge-time, hold-time, injection pressures, and critical temperature settings, to only name a few elements this platform can analyze.
What are the main benefits of MES?
MES most benefits highly regulated industries, like food and beverage production, where the margins for error are small. Foremost, these types of facilities find considerable cost savings and maximum ROI after realizing better visibility into their manufacturing. Increased machine process control is another upside to MES, providing the capacity for astringent recipe management.
Improved workforce administration, legal and regulatory compliance, and more accurate scheduling and planning account for only a few of the many upsides to MES implementation. Companies that lack machines with PLC or still use paper to facilitate core functions may have to undergo a digital transformation initiative to evolve their warehouses before realizing the real benefits of MES. Steps can be taken to achieve this without the large upfront investment in an expensive and complex MES.
The iterate implementation of Manufacturing Execution Systems is no easy task. Indeed, many company owners are left baffled by the process, asking themselves, “Where do I even find industrial automation companies near me?” EZSoft in Malvern, PA, has been assisting the local manufacturing community since 1999. They can help develop a warehouse integration plan that’s right for you, customizing it so that it works for your unique warehouse operations.
Integrating complex industrial automation solutions takes money, time, and a lot of advanced knowledge and experience. These are not, however, impossible obstacles to overcome in the end. Access to the proper machine-level learning and a skilled engineering staff makes all the difference to a successful outcome.
Finding the right MES for your company
MES integration requires a lot of careful attention from qualified personnel before you’ll start to notice a sound ROI. And realizing those returns is highly dependent upon which Manufacturing Execution System you choose.
MES software solutions have undoubtedly revolutionized countless factories across the globe, evolving them out of the era in which companies depended on data collection compiled from spreadsheets and clipboards. MES solutions have come a long way, and future advancements show no sign of slowing anytime soon.
Are you curious to learn more about implementing Manufacturing Execution Systems for your facility but feel less than confident going DIY?
For a comprehensive review of how MES industrial automation solutions can improve your warehouse facility, contact EZSoft, Inc at (484) 568-5040 today.